The Consensus: Carbon DiOccidental?

by | Feb 26, 2009

According to an article at the Register by Andrew Orlowski:

Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.

Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN’s IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.

It would be unfair to extrapolate from this one report from a single institution to Japanese science in general. But something interesting happens if you look at the representation of experts from Japanese institutions in the IPCC process. Here’s a comparison of the number of Japanese contributors to the IPCC’s AR4 with those from the UK and USA (for which we happen to have the data to hand):

Contributors           618
Japan                       27
UK                           77
USA                       226

Contributors           380
Japan                         8
UK                            51
USA                          70

Contributors           270
Japan                       20
UK                            16
USA                          50

Contributors         1268
Japan                       55
UK                          144
USA                        356

Japan, a country twice as populous (127m) as the UK (60m) and twice as rich (GDP $4.487 trillion vs $2.279 trillion for the UK), contributes less than half as many experts. The USA’s GDP ($14.58 trillion) is 3.2 times Japan’s and it is 2.4 times as populous, and yet it contributes 6.5 times as many experts over all than Japan, and 8.4 times as many in Working Group I, which reviews the physical science basis for climate change. Neither does Japan’s contribution to the IPCC process reflect its position in the scientific premier league.

The IPCC, we are told, represents ‘the consensus’. It seems it does not, however, include the judgement of many Japanese scientists. Perhaps it’s just that climate is not high on Japan’s research agenda. But then again, perhaps they have good reason for why it isn’t. Either way, the idea that just 55 of ‘the world’s top scientists’ hail from Japan stretches belief.


  1. Demesure

    “The USA’s GDP ($14.58 trillion) is less than three times”
    It’s “more”, not “less”

  2. Editors

    Thanks. Changed it

  3. Robert Wood

    The Japanese article will be ignored as long as possible, then the vitriol will start, denegrating the Japanese authors as whores and baby-eaters.

  4. geoff chambers

    Excellent initiative of Orlowski at the Register to translate parts of the Japanese report. It confirms something which requires explanation: – that both global warming hysteria, and it’s sceptical antidote, are largely Anglo-Saxon phenomena. The UN / IPCC imprimatur gives a phoney international air to the thing, but in fact attitudes in each country are often trivially micro-political.
    See links at Maurizio Morabito’s interesting blog Omniclimate for the situation in Italy. Here in France, energy policy is still effectively in the hands of the nationalised EDF, and electricity generation is 70% nuclear, so the carbon obsession is practically non-existent. Add the fact that France’s most prominent global warming sceptic is an eminent vulcanologist, who also happens to be a much-hated socialist ex-minister of education, and you can see how attitudes can be affected by trivial considerations of national politics.
    The big mystery to me is why Britain seems to be the sole country where all parties are vying to adopt the most extreme attitude on global warming action. What happened to British empiricism, moderation, wait-and-see attitudes? The vacuity of the programmes of modern political parties is common to many, if not all, western democracies. So why is it only in the Anglo-Saxon countries that the vacuum is being filled by dogmatic environmentalism?

  5. Ben

    ‘So why is it only in the Anglo-Saxon countries that the vacuum is being filled by dogmatic environmentalism?’
    I can answer for the UK….because we have clueless authoritarian inadequate politicians who are unable to think for themselves. Who find it very easy to listen to the BS from politicised pseudo scientists and politicised single issue (anti-CO2) environmental groups because it meets their desire to ‘control’ the general population. What better way to do that than to control CO2 since its nigh on impossible to do anything without producing CO2 (breathing included).
    It’s a far harder argument to say please stop using your cars because the roads are busy than it is to say please stop using your cars because you’re all destroying the planet you selfish b*stards. Today on the BBC news I heard that the greenies are now saying we are destroying the planet because we want soft toilet paper…I mean whatevernext
    In Japan I suspect the politicians/media/single issue group aren’t nearly as closely entwined.
    Nice article below by the way folks:

  6. Alex Cull

    At the same time, ironically there are people such as the Plane Stupids who are criticising the UK government precisely because they think the government isn’t doing enough to curtail CO2. What seems clear is that the current government, plus whoever succeeds them, will increasingly find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They cannot please the environmentalists, who want a carbon-neutral economy (not possible any time soon) or the electorate, who want decent goods and services that they can afford and electricity on tap. When push comes to shove – as it probably will, after years of recession, and the threat of power shortages – I think the voice of the electorate will eventually be decisive.

    Re soft toilet paper, has anyone seen this?-
    (Link courtesy of Tom Nelson’s blog.) An interesting idea. There’s a page further on, which has instructions on how to use and wash these. I note: “Wash in hot, dry in the dryer”. So, washing machines (set to hot), and dryers. Powered by…?


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